20 October 2011

What is a teacher to do?

On Saturday I will be teaching a class for the lay ministry formation program with the topic, "An Overview of the Catholic Faith."  It is, essentially, a class on the Creed done in about six hours time.  All in one day.  It is, really, an impossible task.

I have set aside today and tomorrow to do my last minute preparations for the class.  Here I find myself torn.

On the one hand, I would very much like to have detailed notes, lectures and handouts for the students.  This best suits my personality and would help to ensure all of the material is covered, even if only in a cursory fashion.

On the other hand, preparing in such a way is not only tedious but, from my past experience, not altogether helpful as it could tend to force things along rather than moving along at a pace in keeping with the students' knowledge and questions.  In the past, I have simply made a few introductory observations about creeds and faith and then open the Catechism and go through it one article at a time, stopping for questions and comments and seeing how far we get.

Most of my previous students for this class have enjoyed this method, but there are always one or two who complain that the day wasn't structured enough.    This criticism is fair and not without merit, but I don't know how to resolve the dilemna without turning into a taskmaster for the class, which will make for neither a pleasant learning nor teaching experience.

What is one to do?  As I sit down this morning to put a few things together I am conflicted: I know I will work best without a formal plan, but I feel guilty for not having one prepared.

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